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Without or with zeros?

WhichTestWon's Analysis: (Click back to see versions A & B)

– Case Study –

Do shoppers associate the product cost with the length of the price? That’s the question the testing team at the eCommerce optimization agency, Blue Acorn, setout to answer in this powerful pricing psychology test.

To determine, the team tested the effect of removing all non-significant zeros, after the dollar amount, on all applicable products, site-wide.

Using Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), the team ran the study for an anonymous jewelry fashion brand.

The test went for one week and was shown to an audience comprised primarily of middle-aged women who landed on the site through a social media campaign advertising a large jewelry sale.

A total of 10,512 visitors saw version A, the promotion without the zeros. Another 10,407 visitors saw version B, with the non-significant zeros after the dollar amount. About half of users were on desktop, the other half mobile.

The team expected shortening the price would indicate the item cost less. So, visitors would be most receptive to the truncated price, without the zeros.

Winner: Version A – without the zeros cashed in as the big winner.

Compared to the version with the zeros, the winning version, without the zeros, resulted in:

  • 9.3% increase in add-to-cart clicks
  • 29% rise in visits/order
  • 47% lift in RPV

The results are at 99.9% confidence.

It’s all about appearances. Especially for shoppers looking at jewelry items.

In his research on The Psychology of Pricing, author Nick Kolenda says, “price is merely a perception.” As a result, you can “subconsciously influence people to perceive your price to be lower — all without changing the inherent magnitude.”

That’s exactly the case with this test. Jewelry shoppers seemed to associate the length of the price with the cost of the product. The shorter the price, the lower it appeared — even though the cost was exactly the same across both versions tested.

In their study, The Number Just Feels Right: The Impact of Roundedness of Price Numbers on Product Evaluations, researchers Wadhwa and Zhang found, the way a price is presented impacts purchase decisions.

Round prices, like $100, for example, are fluently processed. In contrast, non-rounded prices, like $98.76 require more cognitive effort to understand. Because round prices are more quickly processed, the researchers found this pricing scheme work best for emotional purchases in which the buyer finds the price “just feels right.”

However, for purchases that require rational decisions, the researchers found non-rounded numbers work best because they prompt the consumer to really think about and evaluate the purchase decision.

In this case, buying jewelry was more an emotional than rational decision. So, removing the zeros to round out the number made the price “just feel right.”

Doing so also helped increase the sense of perceived value. Shoppers likely felt they were getting a deal because the number appeared smaller. Because shoppers were receptive to the price, they likely felt confident the price was representative of the product’s value. This confidence translated to increased add-to-cart rates, more orders placed/visit, and increased money spent per order (RPV).

In contrast, the version with the added zeros made the item seem more expensive. It also reduced clarity and increased complexity, causing shoppers to hesitate with the purchase decision.

Actionable Takeaways:

  1. Price right with roundness. For emotional purchases, increase your customer’s “processing fluency” by rounding out your price. For rational purchase decisions, requiring more mental resources, non-rounded prices may work best.
  2. Price length = perceived product price. Zeros after a dollar amount can make the product appear more expensive. If you want the shopper to perceive they’re getting a deal, shorten the price by removing the zeros. However, adding zeros can be beneficial if you want to emphasize how much the customer is saving.

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Why do you think the version without the added zeros worked best?

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Winning Version


Reader Guesses:

Which Test Won?

  • Version A
  • Version B
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